Twitter chats are a valuable way for you to engage and network on Twitter.
To make the most of twitter chats create a strategy
, or at the very least, a flexible plan based on ‘trial by twitter’. It’s just the same as any other effective networking strategy, it helps you find and engage with potential customers, grow your business and discover “just in time” information, and it can happen on twitter chats.
The twitter chats I participate in meet two simple criteria: either I am able to contribute and add value, as they are in my areas of expertise; or I want to learn something new. The best chats are a combination of both.
In the beginning….
When I first started my chat focus, I picked just one chat and then selected a second one on a diverse subject. I committed time to just those two chats, about two hours a week, until I was completely comfortable with how they worked (chats can be really intimidating at first), and when I had confidence that I knew how to engage in the ebb and flow of the give and take, I expanded my repertoire and I’m now committed to a total of five chats, around five hours a week.
Here are eight pointers to smooth your way when starting out:
1. Check the framing post; this gives you a clue as to the direction of the conversation, and you can prepare to answer the questions ahead of time.
2. Find a chat mentor; I did, and it helped me get up to ‘chat speed’ really fast. When you participate in a chat “tweet” you are new (first time visitor) to a chat, and you will often find a sympathetic host or another participant to help you on your way.
3. Understand hashtags: how they are a dedicated meeting place during the chat hour, and may even run 24/7/365 as diverse conversations evolve and continue. Be respectful during a chat, don’t promote!
4. Pick your focus chats; five is a good number, and make an ongoing commitment where you add or find value. Commitment to a chat enhances the sense of community and is a great opportunity to network, while building your credibility.
5. Lurk, listen, and learn first; I did a lot of listening, and to gain my chat legs confidence, would write each tweet out before pasting it into the twitter stream! I didn’t want to tweet foolish!
6. Start contributing; but always think twice before you say it and always add value.
7. Think Strategic Headline; when tweeting in 140 characters, think PR headlines, advertising taglines, writing telegrams (from an era past). The “Art” of the headline is equally applicable for online chat conversations; even the more frivolous chat banter can be artful
8. Build relationships; commit to the same chat every week, make it more than a ‘one chat stand’ make it all count strategically.
It’s the conversation and information exchange that makes the twitter chats work for me; the more you give, the more you get . Often connections I make during the chats continue into other online encounters, and quite a few have morphed into off-line business relationships and or friendships.
I’ve created several author chat strategies. And even though hangouts have taken front stage for books, don’t discount the targeted audience of a twitter chat, but remember to change the Q&A when talking about your book, so it is not an exact replication of regurgitated content but instead adds new and different perspectives from your book to each chat where you are a guest.
Get invited to chats, which showcase guest hosts with leading edge new technology to early adopter participants. Note: I personally find many new tools and apps to try from these chats.
There are over a 1000 twitter chats on just about every subject under the sun. If you search a chat hashtag you’ll get the time and day of the chat.
My favorite chats:
- #bealeader where some of the best conversations and minds discuss the best actionable leadership and management topics
- #Tchat Inspirational engagement related to the world of work
- #CustServe because as many of you know customer experience is one of my obsessions.
- #Mobilechat where I learn about leading edge developments in the mobile space
- #Mediachat on account of their eclectic roster of guests
- #Blogchat which is where new bloggers come to get the tips and tricks of blogging from seasoned bloggers.
My mother used to say, “life is meeting people” and there is no shortage of “meeting people” in the twitter chat world. There is so much we can learn from each other, and there are so many to learn from.
Who is the most amazing person you have met on a twitter chat? What is the most valuable thing you have learned?